Holiday Skin Stress? Get the Glow Back (cont.)

Though preventive measures can help, the inevitable "skin hangover" is still bound to occur. More alcohol, combined with richer, usually saltier foods, plus a lot less sleep, can come together to give you a bloated, puffy look, particularly the day after a night of holiday cheer.

But experts say you can still face that 9 a.m. staff meeting looking bright eyed and bushy tailed if you simply "play it cool."

"When it comes to puffiness, particularly puffy eyes, cold is the answer to it all, and there is no better treatment than cold packs," says legendary skin care expert and make-up artist Adrien Arpel. The best part, she says, is that you only need 5 to 7 minutes to see results!

In fact, Arpel, who now heads the Signature Club A line for the Home Shopping Network, so believes in the power of cold packs that she designed her own gel-based cooling face mask specifically contoured to the eye area, where puffiness can be significant for many women.

If you can't get your hands on her gel mask in time, Arpel says buy a pair of gel-filled infant teething rings at the drugstore, chill them for about 30 minutes, and place one on each eye for five minutes to reduce the swelling.

"If you do it in a relaxing atmosphere like a hot bath, it somehow seems to work even better," says Arpel.

Another way around the bloat, she says, is to spend the night after the party sleeping with your head elevated. "The higher the better if you want to wake up less puffy," says Arpel.

Jamal agrees. "Alcohol dilates your blood vessels, and that is what allows the fluid to leave the vessels and enter the tissues, which in turn is what causes the puffiness." So, she says, sleeping with your head elevated can help the fluids to drain from your puffy cheeks and eyes.

Another point worth mentioning: To reduce puffy eyes, try swapping an emollient-based eye cream for a gel-based product.

"Sometimes the emollients in the cream formulation will actually hold water in your eye area, and that can make you look puffier, whereas a gel formulation won't do that," says Mordini.

For a quick do-it-yourself face de-bloating, Goldberg suggests soaking a washcloth in equal parts of whole milk and water, then laying the cloth on your face for 10 to 15 minutes.

"It will soothe an irritated complexion and also help reduce some of the bloating," he tells WebMD.

To take down the swelling on eyes, he's a big believer in compresses made of cooled tea bags.

"There's something in the tea that actually helps shrink the swelling," he says.

'Makeup' the Difference

Besides puffiness, a simple lack of sleep can cause holiday eyes to develop dark circles, those bluish or sometimes brownish patches that not only give away your secret nightlife, but also your age -- and sometimes even add on a few years!

Though a good moisturizer can help, among the newest cosmetic treatments is under-eye primers with light-reflecting properties.

"Smashbox has just developed Eye Prime specifically to address the under-eye circle problem. It hydrates, fills in fine lines, and has light-reflecting pigments to brighten the entire under-eye area and a concealer to cover any flaws," says Mordini.

Arpel developed a similar product called Eye Specific. This nontoxic, silicone-based product also fills in fine lines and wrinkles while giving the eye a gentle, colorless boost of radiance to reduce the dark circles. It too comes with a concealer to help hide other under-eye flaws.

When choosing these or any concealing products, the trick, say experts, is to avoid the light or "white" look of yesterday and instead opt for a shade closest to your foundation color.

"Women make the common mistake of using a concealer that's too light and that accentuates dark circles and makes puffy areas look puffier," says Mordini. Likewise, she says if eyes are really puffy, skip any light highlight or "iridescent glow" products under the eye.

Where you should apply that glow, says Arpel, is just under or over the brow bone, which, she says, can "pull attention away from the dark circles." To decrease the look of sleepy, tired eyes during the day, Arpel says skip liner and mascara on the lower lid, which can make puffy eyes look (and feel) worse.

To achieve that bright, "I-never-stay-out-all-night" glow, Mordini says to bypass the smoky dark eye shadows and choose a peach or champagne color instead.

"Gold counteracts redness and brightens darkness, so a champagne or peachy shadow will brighten the eye area and help you avoid a sleepy, tired look," says Mordini.

And what about waking up the "morning after" looking just a bit "green in the gills"? The perfect antidote, says Mordini, is to warm up the skin with a bronzer -- yes, a bronzer -- even in the middle of winter.

"Especially in the middle of winter, a bronzer is the best way to perk up your complexion and get the glow going," says Mordini. But, she says, when choosing a product, opt for a cream bronzer (her choice is Smashbox's Develop Creme Bronzer) instead of a powder to give dry winter skin a competitive edge.

"If you are going to be drinking alcohol, especially in dry winter weather, it's best to stick with [skin] products that are cream or gel based because they dehydrate your skin less," says Mordini.

Other instant skin pick-me-ups, she says, include an apricot-tinted silicone under-makeup base called Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer, which minimizes red tones and blotchy uneven color, counteracts a sallow complexion, and hides dark circles, spots, and other signs of skin stress or damage.

"We also make a product called Artificial Light, which can make you look as if you've had eight hours of sleep when you've really only had three," says Mordini.

Arpel agrees with the concept and developed Signature Club A Firm Fill, a pink-tinted firming and retexturizing face gel, along with Candlelight, a nearly colorless makeup/moisturizer that puts a soft glow on even the most tired-looking skin. Topped with her ProNiacin moisturizing Golden Patina bronzer, no one will ever guess it's your morning-after face!

Says Arpel: "It can make you look rested and relaxed and just back from vacation, even if you're not!"

Colette Bouchez is the author of Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy: Beauty, Health and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-to-Be.

Published Nov. 29, 2004.

SOURCES: David Goldberg, MD, director, Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey; clinical professor, director of laser research and Mohs surgery, department of dermatology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; co-vice-president, Skin Cancer Foundation. Sumayah Jamal, MD, associate professor of dermatology, NYU Medical Center, New York City. Holly Mordini, makeup artist; vice president of global artistry, Smashbox Cosmetics, Los Angeles. Adrien Arpel, makeup artist; director, Signature Club A Skin Care and Cosmetics for the Home Shopping Network.

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